I.Coast Gbagbo's legal team not effective, ICC hears

14th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Ex-Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo's lawyers Wednesday told the international war crimes court they did not have the means to be "effective" because they lacked legal aid and resources.

The former west African strongman's lawyers were back for a status hearing before the International Criminal Court, where Gbagbo faces four counts of crimes against humanity including murder, rape and inhuman acts.

"The defence does not yet have the means to be effective," said Emmanuel Altit, whose client was not required to be in in the dock.

"We have not yet been able to start our investigations because of the absence of legal aid," Altit added, referring to financial help given to suspects the Hague-based court considered indigent, or without means.

"At the moment, we have no office, no computer, no access to the court's computer network and no means," Altit added, speaking in French.

ICC spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah told AFP the registrar had not yet made a decision on Gbagbo's possible indigence.

The 66-year-old Gbagbo is the first former head of state to be brought before the court and made a first appearance last week Monday in the wake of his transfer to The Hague on November 30 from northern Ivory Coast, where he was held under house arrest since April 11.

He is suspected of crimes against humanity committed by his troops between December 16 last year and April 12, after his refusal to stand down in the wake of a presidential poll in November last year.

Gbagbo claims polls were rigged.

His refusal to hand over power to his long-time rival and now Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara plunged the world's top cocao grower into deadly post-poll violence which the UN said cost some 3,000 lives.

A confirmation of charges hearing to see if Gbagbo will eventually stand trial is to be held on June 18, 2012.

© 2011 AFP

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